In 2019, DBSA began its journey to add expanded resources to support youth mental health. At the time, we could have never anticipated the impact of the last 21 months on the nation’s mental health, especially on youth mental health.
This December, the U.S Surgeon General released a 53-page report highlighting the urgency that is the youth mental health crisis. The Surgeon General’s report calls on community organizations to:
- Educate the public about the importance of mental health and reduce negative stereotypes, bias, and stigma around mental illness
- Implement evidence-based programs that promote healthy development, support children, youth, and their families, and increase their resilience
- Ensure that programs rigorously evaluate mental health-related outcomes
- Address the unique mental health needs of at-risk youth, such as racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ youth, and youth with disabilities
- Elevate the voices of children, young people, and their families
Fortunately, because of what began in 2019, DBSA had been on a journey to address some of the priorities the Surgeon General has outlined.
DBSA launched the Mood Crew™ last year to give parents and caregivers, educators and clinicians additional tools to help start conversations about emotions. This year, DBSA continued creating even more Mood Crew™ resources to use with children. Each month one of the Mood Crew™ members released a new resource. This included meditations with Calm, letters with Lonely, and word searches with Sad and Happy, to name a few. Now more than ever, providing tools to help children talk about their feelings is essential.
I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self
If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say? Six young adults shared their mental health journeys with us this year, in a letter to their younger selves in our new blog and podcast series. This series empowers young adults to share their stories and seeks to inspire a generation that may be facing these challenges for the first time.
Balanced Mind Parent Network
DBSA’s parent and caregiver community, the Balanced Mind Parent Network (BMPN) has long served to provide community, education, and resources to parents and caregivers that are raising children living with depression or bipolar. This year, DBSA enhanced the website used for this program, providing even more ways for parents and caregivers to connect in a dynamic online community.
The Surgeon General’s report concludes, “this is a moment to demand change.” As we look to the new year, we are committing to being the change by continuing to support the needs of children, teens, young adults, and their parents and caregivers.